2020 TOP laptop vs desktop for homeschool! Do you need a laptop for homeschooling? And, if so, is Chromebook good for homeschool? What computer is best for homeschooling? Here are laptop vs desktop pros and cons and the best and cheapest computers for students–including how to get discount laptops to homeschool families!
Have you been searching for a desktop computer or the best laptops for homeschooling?
Searching for the best laptops for students or choosing the best desktop computer for homeschool can make you crazy! There are SO MANY options!
I mean, Is Chromebook for homeschool a good option?
Or, What things should I consider when buying a homeschool computer?
And, Are there any student computers discount (like, AT ALL)?
And, laptop vs desktop advantages and disadvantages are different based on your different needs for homeschooling, work and family use!
Do you need a laptop for homeschooling?
The answer will depend on your needs. If you mainly homeschool or use the computer in one spot in your home, then a desktop computer may be better for you. However, if your child likes to move around the house, work outside, and you want to be able to travel or be outside the home and still connect to studies, then a laptop is the better option.
It is possible to homeschool without a laptop or desktop computer for kids (or even without the internet!), especially if you aren’t using an online homeschool curriculum or class. However, your learning will be greatly enhanced by having a computer because there are so many free (and cheap) homeschool resources and learning tools online today!
Laptop vs Desktop: Which One is Best for Homeschool?
Is laptop or desktop better? Here are the laptop vs desktop pros and cons to consider when buying a new computer for your child:
- Required accessories (keyboard, monitor, etc.)
- Child Monitoring
Let’s take a look at these computer pros and cons…
Laptop vs Desktop Pros and Cons
1. PRICE AND OFFERINGS
Price and budget will obviously be a big factor. You can get laptops and desktops on the lower range of a couple of hundred dollars (all the way into the thousands of dollars). As with anything, cheaper is not always better! Just remember: with a desktop you’ll also need to factor in the cost of accessories like a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. Additionally, a computer with higher processing, memory and other offerings (like preloaded software) will cost more, so understand your needs before purchasing.
Clearly, a desktop is going to take more room than a laptop, which can be shut and put away in a computer bag when not in use. If you’re limited on space, you’ll definitely want to go with a student laptop.
3. PORTABILITY AND SHARING
Is your kid OK working in one spot? Or, does your kid like to move around the house and sometimes even do work outside? Do you travel? Do you want one child to be able to access an online class at the library while you have your little on in story time?
If you like to move around (or have different kids that study in different areas that need to share a computer), your best bet is a laptop.
4. REQUIRED ACCESSORIES
Desktops require additional accessories (monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.), while a laptop pretty much comes with everything you need. However, consider other things that you need on a regular basis—do you have a class that’s on a CD or thumb drive? Do you need to be connected to a printer at almost all times? If so, consider going with a desktop. (Many laptops are eliminating CD drives and thumb drives. So, if you need access to those, you’ll have to buy laptop accessories for that.)
5. CHILD MONITORING
A big one to consider is how much attention do you need to give to what your child is doing on the computer? Consider: Desktops are easy to put in a family area where you can always keep an eye on who is on the computer and what they’re doing. Laptops are easier for your student to use privately, which may make monitoring more difficult.
What is the best laptop for beginners?
If your homeschooler is just getting started with their own laptop, it is not necessary to buy a top of the line laptop (unless, you know, you really want to).
Any of the student laptops we’ve mentioned above are great, affordable laptops that will work well with home school.
What is the best laptop for homeschooling?
So, what is the best laptop for a child who is homeschooling? These are some of the best rated laptops for students at discounted, affordable prices:
What is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a laptop that runs on Google’s Chrome Operating System (OS) instead of a Windows or Mac operating system. Chromebooks are great student laptops, but the main thing to remember is that they are mostly built to be used when connected to the internet. Chromebooks are sold by a variety of brands like Samsung, Acer, ASUS, and more.
Is Chromebook good for homeschool?
A Chromebook is an affordable computer solution for homeschool. However, remember that it’s made to function at its best when connected to the internet. Also, I have talked to some homeschoolers who have said that they have trouble running some of their online classes on Chromebooks, so check with the provider of your classes before you purchase a Chromebook.
While we’re at it, this is a common question we get when discussing homeschool laptops:
Does K12 give you a laptop?
If your child is enrolled in a K12 homeschool program, you may be expecting a computer. However, you will need to meet the eligibility requirement set forth during your enrollment for a loaner laptop. Also, be aware that not every K12 program has loaner computers.
Laptops and Notebooks for Students (Reviews)
When asking, What laptop should I buy for school? you’ll definitely want to compare laptops.
One of the best ways to do this is to look at laptop reviews and parent comments.
Who offers student discounts on laptops?
Wouldn’t that be awesome if you could FINALLY get a break on your homeschool budget and get a cheap computer?
Well, we have some really great news because Microsoft has now defined homeschoolers as a “qualified educational user.”
Why is this important?
Because now non-profit organizations like Notebooks For Students (NFS) can provide deep discounts on laptops and software to be used in homeschool!
About Notebooks for Students
Notebooks for Students (NFS) is a nonprofit organization who provides discounted laptops to students (including homeschoolers!) without having to jump through a bunch of hoops!
The program mission is based on four principles:
- To provide affordable, dependable and powerful laptops for all students;
- To provide a “headache free” environment for assistance, servicing and support for students;
- To decrease costs as much as possible through low prices, free service shipping, and free warranty;
- To create a program simply to beak even after each school year, NFS is a nonprofit and we do not generate profit at the student’s expense.
NFS inventory is made up of laptops and computers from Dell, Apple, HP, Toshiba, and Lenovo.
Although most of the inventory through NFS is mostly refurbished—meaning they were used (by businesses or schools), but updated—the laptops are still backed by the Notebooks For Students four year warranty.
So, if you don’t mind getting a used laptop, this might be a valid choice for your family. Just know, that the lifespan of a refurbished computer may not be the same as a new laptop.
Computer Discounts for Homeschool Groups or Co-ops!
Another great thing is that NFS will also work with groups to purchase multiple laptops at an even bigger discount.
That means if you’re in a homeschool group or homeschool co-op, then you can purchase as a group and save even more!
Purchasing Best Laptops for Homeschool
Here’s what NFS lists as requirements for purchasing as a homeschooler:
Please confirm Homeschool status by providing NFS any one of the following for each family;
- Homeschool association membership card
- Letter or form from school district or State
- Letter or form from umbrella Homeschool
group or school
- Affidavit, notice of intent or other form
- In states that do not require documentation, draft a letter stating the State you reside in and that you homeschool. Sign and send in the letter.
Remember, the inventory changes often and quickly, so if you see something you’re interested in you better grab it before it’s gone!
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not tried one of these laptops yet from NFS. This was just an awesome share. But, if you’ve purchased a laptop this way before, please leave your experience in the comments. I would love to hear how it is!